How to become a buyer’s agent in Australia

How do I become a buyers agent


If you’ve ever typed “how do I become a buyers agent” into a search engine, it won’t take you long to work out that the pathway is unclear. There are a number of reasons why this is the case. This article will explain why and point you in the right direction.

Key takeaways:

  • You’ll need to consider both qualifications and skills separately.
  • The pathway to become a buyers agent depends on the state or territory you live in.
  • There are ways you can upskill even when employment options are limited.

Table of contents

  1. What qualifications you need.
  2. Licensing course curriculum.
  3. What are the educational gaps?
  4. Learning on the job.
  5. How to upskill.

Buyers Agent Qualifications

In all states and territories of Australia, you will need a Real Estate Licence before you can start your own business. However, because every state and territory operates their real estate industries differently, there are significant variations in the pathways into the industry in each location.

There are differences in the name of the qualification, whether you can start working for yourself or whether you need to first work for a licensed real estate agent and the amount of work experience required before you can set up your own buyers agency. So it’s no wonder you might be struggling to know where to start when researching how do I become a buyers agent.

In basic terms, you’ll start by doing all or part of the Certificate IV in Real Estate Practise (CERT IV) so you’re qualified to start work as an Assistant Agent. As I’ve mentioned earlier, the details differ in every state and territory, so check out this article for more specific information. After you’ve completed the Cert IV, you can work as a Buyers Agent under the supervision of a Licensee in Charge.

If you’d like to run your own business, you’ll also need to complete further study and attain a Diploma of Property (Agency Management).

Licensing Course Curriculum

I’ve looked at the curriculums for all of the real estate licensing courses across the country and the one thing they have in common is that you will learn very little about how to be a buyers agent. Instead you will learn things like:

  • How to operate a trust account
  • How to prepare a marketing campaign to sell a property
  • How to manage a tenancy
  • How to manage a landlord relationship
  • How to manage a vendor relationship

There are no core subjects that specifically relate to being a buyers agent. There are only four elective subjects covering buyers agency topics. So, if you’ve completed your Certificate IV in Real Estate Practise and are still wondering how do I become a buyers agent, that’s no surprise to me!

The Educational Gap

I’ve long argued that a buyers agent needs more education than a sales agent. This might not be what you want to hear, especially if you’re in a hurry to get qualified and get buying! But hear me out. A buyers agent needs to be highly skilled because every client’s financial future relies on the advice we give them.

A selling agent needs to know how to market a property and get the best possible price. If it’s a dud property, their client made the mistake all by themselves, probably years earlier. But a buyers agent needs to identify what makes a good property, uncover pitfalls and any reason a client should not buy a property, then research the price and negotiate the deal. At every step of the way, an inexperienced or uneducated buyers agent runs the risk of leaving their client with a mistake they need to deal with in the future. A mistake that could cost them dearly.

Learning On The Job

At the time of writing this, in NSW, ACT, Western Australia and Victoria, a real estate agent must now gain experience by working for a licensed agent and obtain additional qualifications before they can work for themselves and run their own business.

However, it’s a very sad state of affairs that in four out of our eight states and territories, a buyers agent with zero experience can complete a qualification that does not contain any buyers agency subjects, then set up a buyers agency and start charging clients. I know that many would-be buyers agents love this low barrier of entry, but there is a downside that many only become aware of after they’ve started their business.

New buyers agents often share with me their challenges:

  • Working out if sales agents are lying to them
  • Handling emotional clients
  • Convincing clients to take action
  • Knowing whether they’re doing enough (or the right) due diligence
  • Being confident with their recommendations
  • Winning business and justifying their fees

It suddenly dawns on them that there is a whole lot more to this than they realised and imposter syndrome kicks in big time!

How to Upskill

How do I become a buyers agent if I can’t find a buyers agent to work for? This is a common problem, because a lot of buyers agencies are one-man-bands and micro-businesses, which means they don’t employ many people.

If you’re in one of those three states and one territory where you can work for yourself after qualifying, that might be the only option you think you have. Elsewhere, you won’t have that option. I recommend you first consider working in a sales agency. It’s a great way to gain industry experience while also learning about what goes on over on the “other side of the fence”.

When I have surveyed new buyers agents, even those with a few years experience under their belt, the one thing they all want is a mentor. Which is great if they’re already working for an experienced buyers agent who has the time and inclination to mentor their team. For the rest, finding a mentor has proven to be a real challenge. This is one of the reasons why I created the Buyers Agent Mentoring Program.